It may be hard to imagine feeling the necessity to skip town when the capital has so much to offer. But to really understand France - its people, culture, values and storied past - you'll need to reach beyond the well-heeled streets of Paris. Some of these spots make ideal day trips from the city while others deserve your undivided attention. All are picture- perfect so keep your cameras handy.

river, hammock...bliss: a stay along the Sorgue

Summer, mid-afternoon in the South of France--there's no better place to be than in the shade, cicadas singing overhead, taking a nap in a hammock hung from a medieval village-wall by a lazy, quiet river...

My wife and I were visiting friends in the Provençal village of Le Thor. Their house was built in to the medieval wall, with just enough space between the wall and the river for a few chairs and a hammock. Close to Avignon, but off the beaten path, the surrounding sunflower fields were the perfect place for tandem-bike-rides...we kayaked in the Sorgue river, floating down past the village walls to the Romanesque church...and after a snack of olives and pastis, it was my turn for a 'sieste' in the hammock...

Ah, the allure of villages in the South of France; pick one and stay a while. Soak it up.

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I'm relaxing just looking at this photo. You captured the mood perfectly.

Profile 0f6b7d2e060ba10436dee21bcc164277?1383771636

I'm with Molly. Just looking at this makes me relax. Looks like a gorgeous place. Must put it on my list.

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Provance is lovely. You have captured the spirit.


Le Thor

Le Thor
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